Screening Your Dog
Heartworm testing is a much needed screening test in our region of Ohio. Not only are we less than 30 miles from Shreve's wetlands, but there are many creeks, rivers and ponds in the Orrville, Smithville, Rittman and surrounding areas of Wayne county. The reason that location to water is so important is that heartworm disease is carried by mosquitoes, who lay their eggs in stagnant and slow moving water.
So what exactly is heartworm testing? A heartworm screening involves a small sample of blood from your dog, most likely drawn from one of his or her front legs. This blood is then tested for the presence of adult female heartworms. The test is a simple, 10 minute test that is performed in the office. The current test also screen your dog for Lyme Disease and Canine Ehrlichiosis, which are both transmitted by ticks.
Why test my dog?
We recommend testing your dog either every year or every other year depending on whether or not he or she is given a monthly heartworm preventative. We test every year in unprotected dogs. This is important because early detection results in a much better cure rate than diagnosing once clinical signs are observed.
What if my dog is on prevention all year round, do I still need to test?
Yes. We still test every other year. This is actually a alight deviation from the recommendations by the Council for Animal Parasite Control (CAPC), who recommends testing every year in every pet. We strive to provide the best care for your pets, while still remaining practical. For this reason, we have elected the every other year schedule. It is important to screen dogs to check for several things including: product failure, resistant heartworms and the possibility that the preventative was either not given or was not ingested properly.
How much does the testing cost?
While we don't publish our fees and pricing online, the in clinic test is a little less than $45. This price can shift due to the cost of the test and other factors, but $45 is a rough indication.
How can I protect my dog against heartworm disease?
There are several ways to protect your dog. These include a 6 month injectable and various monthly pills. There are also some topical preventatives available. Click Here for a link to the article about preventatives. (No article is linked at this time, but please check back as the article should be ready soon)
By Jeffrey R. Fink, D.V.M.
Orrville Veterinary Clinic, Inc.